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Plan more investments, PC tells
textile traders

New Delhi, August 5
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today said he will continue with the rationalisation of the excise duty structure in the textile sector in the next Budget and asked the industry to plan for sizeable investments to garner global opportunities in the post-MFA period.

From Holy City to shopper’s paradise
B.K. Ong, GM-India, Singapore Airlines Amritsar-Singapore flight from Oct 1
Chandigarh, August 5
Amritsar is the gateway to Sikh (Golden Temple), Hindu (Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir) and Buddhist (Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh) pilgrim traffic. It also has the potential for opening new vistas for business and religious tourism in Punjab.

Coal scarcity artificial, rues brick-kiln industry
New Delhi, August 5
The recent hike in coal prices by 16.7 per cent and scarcity in the market have adversely hit the brick kiln industry across the country. Consequently, the brick prices have gone up by about 25 per cent.

Sony eyes Rs 1200-cr turnover
New Delhi, August 5
Sony India, a consumer durable major, today announced to adopt an aggressive growth strategy for the Indian markets.

Stops CTV production

Mr Negishi Noriaki, Senior General Manager----Pan Asia, Sony, and Mr Mohit Parasher, General Manager, AV/IT Division, Sony India, at the launch of WEGA Engine technology in the New Delhi on Thursday Mr Negishi Noriaki, Senior General Manager — Pan Asia, Sony, and Mr Mohit Parasher, General Manager, AV/IT Division, Sony India, at the launch of WEGA Engine technology in the New Delhi on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Fortis to build North as healthcare hub
Chandigarh, August 5
Fortis Healthcare Limited, a Ranbaxy promoter group company, announced its entry into the National Capital Region today.

  
Ranbaxy





A model displays Samsung’s new E810 Olympic series mobile phone in New Delhi on Thursday
A model displays Samsung’s new E810 Olympic series mobile phone in New Delhi on Thursday. Samsung India today rolled out its Olympic Series high-end slide mobile phones and said it was eyeing 22 per cent growth in handset sales this year, driven by CDMA and colour and camera segment. — AFP




EARLIER STORIES

 


In video:
India's largest wedding exhibition "Vivah 2004" will bring together the myriad aspects of the one-billion dollar Indian wedding industry.
(28k, 56k)

P&G inks pact with CSIR
New Delhi, August 5
US-based Procter and Gamble has tied up with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to support acceleration of its ‘Connect and Develop’ (C+D) strategy for collaborative research launched in India in September 2003.

TCS issue oversubscribed
Mumbai, August 5
India’s largest-ever initial public offer (IPO) by the private sector IT company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Limited, has been oversubscribed by 5.56 times till 2 pm on the last day of its subscription today.

Graphic: Top 20 Software Exporters

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Plan more investments, PC tells textile traders

New Delhi, August 5
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today said he will continue with the rationalisation of the excise duty structure in the textile sector in the next Budget and asked the industry to plan for sizeable investments to garner global opportunities in the post-MFA period.

“Industry must plan for investments in the range of Rs 1,40,000 crore and exports of $ 50 billion within the next two to three years to make a dent in the market-driven trade in textiles, which will come into force after January 2005,” Mr Chidambaram said while releasing a ‘Vision statement for the textile sector’.

Mr Chidambaram said the Budget 2004 has spelled out a zero excise duty rate structure for all natural fibres.

“Only man-made fibres remain under the excise duty regime. It is for anybody to guess the direction of the next Budget and the Budget after that regarding rationalisation of the duty structure,” he said. The vision statement, a study of the textile and clothing industry, was sponsored by the Indian Cotton Mills Federation and carried out by Crisil.

Textiles Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela and ICMF President Dr B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar were among those who addressed the audience from the textile sector.

The Finance Minister disagreed with the vision statement, which envisages an investment of Rs 60,000 crore in the next three to four years and an export target of $ 40 billion.

Borrowing from the Olympic motto of ‘faster, higher and stronger’, Mr Chidambaram asked the industry to emulate this.

“This requires investments of Rs 1,40,000 crore and an export target of $ 50 billion not in the next three to four years but, in the next year or the year after that,” Mr Chidambaram said.

He regretted that he was not able to correct the entire inverted duty structure in this Budget itself, but assured the industry that the anomalies will be a thing of the past in the coming budgets. — UNI
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From Holy City to shopper’s paradise
Amritsar-Singapore flight from Oct 1
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Ministerspeak

J.S. Kang
J.S. Kang

The SIA flight will boost tourism in Punjab
More airlines to follow suit
Amritsar likely to be linked to other cities as airport infrastructure being improved
Feasibility of airport in Phillaur being studied

Chandigarh, August 5
Amritsar is the gateway to Sikh (Golden Temple), Hindu (Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir) and Buddhist (Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh) pilgrim traffic. It also has the potential for opening new vistas for business, leisure and religious tourism in Punjab. The land of five rivers has a number of historical sites, temples, museums, palaces and bird sanctuaries.

It is tap this avenue that the Singapore Airlines ( SIA) has chosen to start direct flights between Amritsar and Singapore from October 1, said Mr B.K. Ong, General Manager India, SIA, in a talk with TNS today. He was in the city to wrap up the deal with the Punjab Government and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Catering to the sentiments of pilgrims flying from all over the world, specially the Indian diaspora, SIA offers a menu option that should not hurt their sensibility. Mr Ong said they can opt for vegetarian Indian fare served on air. ‘‘The gourmet cuisine comprises signature dishes created by a panel of culinary experts, including Mr Satish Arora of India,’’ he informed.

Customers on the Singapore-Mumbai-Manchester route already have the choice of picking from two non-vegetarian dishes and one Indian vegetarian dish. Of course, for those to whom it is no issue, are available Western, Japanese and Thai cuisine delights and Singapore specialities as well as a selection of fine wines. Meal requests are taken at the time of reservation.

To make the travellers feel at home, they also have Indian hostesses (famously known as Singapore Girls) who are recruited for language skills.

On the other inflight facilities offered by SIA that makes it a better choice than rival international carriers, the General Manager rates their entertainment and connectivity by phone as unique. Every passenger is provided with a personal video monitor and control unit to enjoy games, music, news bulletins and movies. Called KrisWorld, it offers more than 250 entertainment options. The phone allows customers to make calls and send short text messages to anywhere in the world.

To promote both inbound and outbound traffic in this region, Mr Ong announced an inaugural package of up to 15 per cent discount on air fares from Amritsar to Singapore, Malaysia, Bangkok, Manila and Australia. The return ticket to Singapore will cost Rs 18,807 till November 5. The Boeing B777-200 will operate thrice a week — on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
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Coal scarcity artificial, rues brick-kiln industry
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 5
The recent hike in coal prices by 16.7 per cent and scarcity in the market have adversely hit the brick kiln industry across the country. Consequently, the brick prices have gone up by about 25 per cent, from Rs 1200 per thousand to about Rs 1500 per thousand in North India.

Though most of the brick kilns are closed due to the rains, the industry has threatened that if the government failed to improve the coal supply to the around 50,000 brick-kilns in the country, the kilns may not start production from the next season starting August-end. It would affect the housing sector and around one crore workers employed by the industry.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr R.P. Chandel, vice president, All-India Brick and Tiles Manufacturers Federation, said, “Despite repeated representations, the government has failed to ensure adequate coal supply to the brick-kilns from Coal India and other public sector companies. Consequently, we have to buy coal from the black market at higher price or have to burn wood, rubber and rice husk to manufacture bricks and tiles.”

He lamented that during the previous season alone, the industry had to pay about Rs 200 crore extra to black marketeers because of an artificial scarcity created in the market. Further, Coal India has decided to increase coal prices by 16.7 per cent. This would result in a further hike in brick prices by around Rs 300 per. Coal constitutes about 60 per cent of the total raw material costs in the manufacturing of bricks.

Officials in the Ministry of Coal point out that since coal prices were decontrolled in 2000 by the government, no separate provision of coal could be made for any industry.

Industry experts estimate that the brick-kiln industry has an annual demand of 20-25 million tones of coal, but it does not get even a fraction of total required coal at market price. Since the brick kilns are mostly unorganised, and spread in the semi-town and rural areas as well, the “coal mafia” exploits them that create an artificial scarcity of coal in the market in the season.

“We have to pay Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,500 per tonne to the coal traders as against the market price of Rs 2000 to Rs 3,000 per tonne. Since the industry is a seasonal one, traders jack up prices by creating artificial shortage in the market,” said Mr Ramanjit Singh, a brick-kiln owner.

Industry representatives point that situation of coal supply has become serious in North India, thus affecting around 2500 brick kilns in Punjab, 1800 in Haryana and over 13,000 in Uttar Pradesh. Since this region was far away from coalmines in Jharkhand and Assam, the traders were exploiting the situation.

Mr Chandel urged the government to intervene to save the industry adding that government should also consider removing the mandatory mixing of 25 per cent fly ash to manufacture bricks in the vicinity of thermal power units.

“The use of fly ash should be voluntary and not mandatory. The thermal units should be held responsible for their pollution and not the industry,” he added.
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Sony eyes Rs 1200-cr turnover
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 5
Sony India, a consumer durable major, today announced to adopt an aggressive growth strategy for the Indian markets. The company is eyeing a turnover of Rs 1,200 crore this fiscal and aims to double colour television sales by 2006 by offering competitive prices and upgrading after sales services.

At present, Sony CTVs command 8 per cent of the market share, which was far below that of its competitors, Samsung and LG.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Mohit Parasher, General Manager (AV/IT Division), Sony India said: “We have adopted an aggressive growth strategy to push sales.”

He said the company had introduced state-of-the-art WEGA engine technology in its premium home entertainment products.

The new technology enhances picture quality by offering high resolution without accompanying high-noise levels, the company’s Pan-Asia Business Division Senior General Manager Negishi Neriaki said.

Stops CTV production

Close on the heels of shutting down its audio manufacturing unit, consumer electronics firm Sony India has suspended production of colour television facility and said it was evaluating whether to close down the CTV unit.

“We are evaluating the viability of the CTV manufacturing unit in India. At this moment, we cannot say whether the company will continue with the unit,” its General Manager (sales and Marketing) Mohit Parasher said on the sidelines of the launch of ‘WEGA’ technology

“We have given VRS to our employees, who used to work for the audio plant,” he said.

In view of India’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand coming into force, the company may start bulk import of CTVs from that country. — PTI
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Fortis to build North as healthcare hub
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Fortis Healthcare Limited, a Ranbaxy promoter group company, announced its entry into the National Capital Region (NCR) today. It has extensive plans to introduce six hospitals in the next five years, with an investment outlay of over Rs 1,100 crore. About funding, he said the company was keeping the options of debt, equity and initial public offer (IPO) open.

The first of the Fortis hospitals in the NCR is a Rs 100-crore project at Noida. It will be launched shortly. This will be followed by Fortis Jessaram Hospital on Pusa Road. The other hospitals will be in different parts of Delhi and Gurgaon.

According to Mr Shivinder Mohan Singh, Joint Managing Director, Fortis aims to establish an integrated health delivery system in India offering comprehensive health services and addressing all needs from minor ailments to high-end surgical procedures. Each of the hospitals will have multi-speciality capabilities and be a centre of excellence in one or more super-specialities.

All hospitals across the region will be linked through a strong IT backbone and will have high-end IT services. This will allow all Fortis hospitals to access the cumulative capabilities of internal medical fraternity and its knowledge base.

“In line with its Ranbaxy heritage, Fortis is dedicated to research. Its focus will be on the super-speciality areas and this will further help to improve the quality of health services delivered by physicians and health care workers, through the Fortis system,” he said.

Ranbaxy

After the WHO decision to remove three generic HIV/AIDS drugs of Ranbaxy Labs from its recommended list due to quality concerns, India’s top drug maker has started new equivalence studies and suspended business with the independent laboratory that carried out the original tests.

The WHO said, in a statement yesterday, Ranbaxy has not proved that the medicines are biologically equivalent to patented drugs.

The Geneva-based UN agency said it was dropping the three Ranbaxy products because the laboratory, which had carried out bio equivalence studies, did not meet international standards of good clinical and laboratory practices.

The WHO decision is a setback for Ranbaxy, which recently announced plans to file its anti-AIDS drugs with the US Food and Drug Administration. — UNI
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P&G inks pact with CSIR

New Delhi, August 5
US-based Procter and Gamble has tied up with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to support acceleration of its ‘Connect and Develop’ (C+D) strategy for collaborative research launched in India in September 2003.

The strategic partnership will lead to a range of collaborative research, using the rich and varied expertise of both organisations for mutual benefit, in beauty care, healthcare and fabric and home care among others.

The Letter of Intent was signed by P&G vice-president (Research and Development) Shekhar Mitra and CSIR Director-General R A Mashelkar here.

Dr Mashelkar said: “With this tie-up, we look forward to provide even greater value to P&G in the field of research and technology in products and services.”

The $ 50 billion P & G is establishing a Connect and Develop hub in Bangalore to help develop collaborative partnerships with various Indian organisations, including research laboratories, academic institutions and companies. — UNI
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TCS issue oversubscribed

Mumbai, August 5
India’s largest-ever initial public offer (IPO) by the private sector IT company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Limited, has been oversubscribed by 5.56 times till 2 pm on the last day of its subscription today.

According to market sources, the issue attracted over 7 lakh applications from retail investors across the country while subscriptions from qualified institutional investors (QIBs) was more than 7.16 times.

About 60 per cent shares were offered to QIBs and 25 per cent was reserved for retail investors and the remaining for high networth individuals. — UNI
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Top 20 Software Exporters
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BRIEFLY

Hyundai hikes prices
New Delhi, August 5
Hyundai Motor India today affected a marginal price increase for all its cars across segments following the two per cent education cess announced in the budget 2004-05. The price of Santro is up by Rs 2,257 while Accent by Rs 4,889. The retail price increase for the luxury sedans Elantra and Sonata is in the range between Rs 10,129 and 10,713, respectively, the auto major added. — UNI

Trading partner
New Delhi, August 5
China has emerged as India’s largest trading partner in the North East Asian region surpassing Japan, a Commerce Ministry report has said. “Till the year 2001-02, Japan was India’s number one trading partner in North East Asia,” the annual report of the Department of Commerce said. It said India’s exports to China registered a steep increase of 109.05 per cent during 2002-03 over 2001-02, while imports from China also registered a significant increase of 38.65 per cent. — UNI

BankMuscat
New Delhi, August 5
Oman’s largest banking entity BankMuscat will invest Rs 30 crore in the Centurion Bank by fully subscribing to 75 million shares in the Indian bank’s Rs 91-crore forthcoming rights issue, likely to open on August 16. The largest shareholder in Centurion Bank, BankMuscat will fully exercise its rights option in the issue. “The decision to fully subscribe to the rights issue is in keeping with our long-term commitment to India,” BankMuscat Chief Executive Abdul Razak Ali Issa said. — UNI

Portico New York
Chandigarh, August 5
Portico New York in association with The Walt Disney Company has launched an exclusive kids range of home textiles called the Roller Coaster Collection. The collection will feature all-time favourite Disney characters as per a company press note. — TNS

Exim Bank
New Delhi, August 5
Export-Import Bank of India has instituted an award for research in international economics, trade and development. The award, in commemoration of the birth centenary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, carries Rs 1 lakh in cash and a citation, the bank said. — PTI

GM in UP
New Delhi, August 5
Automobile giant General Motors is all set to enter Uttar Pradesh with the takeover of Daewoo Motors which had stopped production at its Noida unit after incurring huge losses. — UNI
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